Monday, December 18, 2006

Harvard Scientist Blasts Inhofe’s Global Warming Hearing

Daniel P. Schrag, who was one of two witnesses invited by the Democratic staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee to counter the view that global warming is a hoax at a recent hearing held by committee chairman Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma to find out if the media is hyping the threat of global warming, did not mince words about what he thought about the proceedings in a Boston Globe op-ed. Schrag, who is professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard, called the hearing ”a gathering of liars and charlatans, sponsored by those industries who want to protect their profits.”

After providing a scientific explanation of global warming in his opening statement he then says that he:
“watched in horror as Inhofe's witnesses spouted outrageous claims intended to deceive and distort. Two were scientists associated with industry-funded think tanks. They described global warming as a "mass delusion" among the scientific community, sowing confusion by misrepresenting the ice core data that connects carbon dioxide and temperature over glacial cycles, and claiming that "global warming stopped in 1998" -- an anomalously warm year. They even recommended burning as much fossil fuel as possible to prevent another ice age.”

Following the hearing Schrag had another surprise. He says that:
I later learned that Inhofe's communications director, Marc Morano, was a key figure in publicizing the swift boat veterans' attack on John Kerry in 2004. Morano, it seems, is still up to his old tricks, twisting the facts to support his boss's outrageous claims. This made my visit complete: a glimpse at our government that sees the world only through glasses tinted by special interests, which treats science as a political football, no matter what is at stake.

I have to agree with the conclusion that Schrag reached after his experience in Washington. He put it this way:
As our leaders accept the outrageous spectacle I saw the other day as just a normal day in Congress, we will have to take the first step without them.

Hopefully more and more scientists and other citizens will come to this realization and the first step will be taken before it is too late.

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